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Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 4 ratings)
LPJ9461E

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Machinesmiths walk in two worlds, using science and magic to invent new and powerful devices. Above all else machinesmiths are makers of things. The quest to perfect their next great invention drives them to become masters of many talents. From enchanting engines to advanced mathematics, the machinesmith brings together both magic and technology to realize his vision. Whether forging a simple blade or building a mechanical man, machinesmiths take pride in producing only the best. Some machinesmiths craft time and labor saving machines to help them in their research and benefit all.

This supplement includes:

  • All the information to play the Machinesmith as base class for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting.
  • Nearly a dozen all new spells including blade drone, leashed shackles, pocket army and possess object.
  • Two All New Archetypes: Bombardier and Technologist
  • Machinesmiths in NeoExodus

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 4 ratings)

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An all around great product

*****

I found the Machinesmith to be a great class in both mechanics and flavor and plan to use it in my home setting.


Add some magitech to your game.

****( )

The book welcomes me with a nice picture of an attractive redhead with leather-and-metal harness keeping a massive magitech-looking gauntlet on her right arm that made me think of Torchlight alchemist. Which is very appropriate but I will say more about that later.

Basis of the class looks quite familiar: d8 HD, medium BAB, good Fortitude and Reflex saves, 4+ Int modifier skill points per level and six levels of spellcasting re-flavored as construction of magitech devices called prototypes. I was expecting more skill points for technically-oriented class but, as machinesmith uses Intelligence as its primary ability score, she should get lots of skill points from high Intelligence modifier and has two features that grant skill bonuses. Overall the class looks very similar to alchemist — with magitech contraptions replacing alchemy (prototypes work very like extracts, including being limited to its creator use, can be constructed in 1 minute of work in slots left for that purpose), ability to repair objects and constructs with touch instead of bombs and great work feature in place of mutagen. She even gets equivalent of discoveries (called machinesmith tricks — I think I would go with schematics, patterns or something similarly technological sounding instead) at even levels. The missing part that would complete the analogy is a feat that would give the machinesmith additional tricks. Tricks are divided into augmentations that improve the machinesmith’s greatwork, gadgets that are plans for creation of physical devices that produce specific effects and techniques that expand the machinesmith’s abilities allowing for great level of character customization.

The machinesmith unique ability is her greatwork — one of three possible devices constructed at 1st level with upgrades available every five levels with 20th level master upgrade filling the role of the class capstone ability. Greatworks available to a machinesmith are: analyzer, mechanus, and mobius weapon, with open option for introducing new greatworks in future products (in fact I feel temptation to write a new option to machinesmith as I read it). Analyzer is a scanning device that takes the form of goggles or bracer and provides an array of sense-expanding options and detection spell-like abilities. Mechanus is construct minion that uses basic eidolon rules, including four forms — aquatic, biped/humanoid, quadruped/tracked/wheeled and serpentine — but instead of eidolon evolutions gains improved abilities when upgraded every five levels. Mobius weapon is an energy generating device that is mounted on a weapon of the machinesmith choice increasing its damage and allowing gaining temporary weapon-related feats.

Overall greatworks are interesting but I feel that they could benefit from additional polishing and some redesign that would allow for greater degree of their customization.

Two final abilities of a machinesmith are getting three item creation feats as bonus feats spread through levels and ability to convert prepared prototypes of 3rd level or higher into spontaneous dispel magic.

Beyond the description of the class itself, the book provides the reader with a number of new prototypes, with some also being available as spells to various classes, four archetypes, and one prestige class. The machinesmith archetypes are: arcanamechanist — specializing in analyzer and manipulating magic items, bombardier — replacing greatwork with bombs, combat engineer — expanding her combat abilities at the expense of some regular class features, and magic-eschewing technologist. Machinesmiths that want to augment themselves with magitech, instead of devices and constructs may take Transmechanical Ascendant prestige class and become more and more machine-like.

The final part of the book describes how do the machinesmiths fit the campaign setting of NeoExodus.

There are some minor editing glitches here and there, like repeated word or wrong preposition.

Graphics are of high quality, but beyond the cover image (repeated once more inside of the book) they have little to do with technologically inclined class — both remaining images could fit book dedicated to a tavern or a court.

The class itself is interesting and I would like to play it one day but I feel that greatworks could use some additional polishing and more expanded ability to being customized.

If you want to have a magitech class in your game, the machinesmith is definitely a viable option for you.


4.5 stars - the massively revised edition gets it almost perfectly done

*****

This pdf is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 4 pages of advertisements, leaving 16 pages of content for the new, revised Machinesmith-class, so let's check this one out!

The Machinesmith is a new base-class that gets d8, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with light armors, greatworks-weapons (see below), simple weapons and repeating crossbows, a special kind of spellcasting (again, see below) of up to 6th level and medium BAB as well as good fort and ref saves.

The spellcasting of the Machinesmith is tied to INT and works pretty much like a wizard's spellcasting, but with some tweaks - essentially, they create small devices from blueprints, so-called prototypes which duplicate spell-effects. These and other abilities of the class are powered by the machinesmith's inherent magical energy, the mobius energy. Machinesmiths can create blueprints from magical spells they encounter, but wizards cannot extrapolate spells from blueprints. Prototypes also use costly materials if the spells they're based on do so . Prototypes remain active for only a day and can exclusively be used by the machinesmith that created them. Making a prototype takes one minute and in contrast to wizards, a machinemsith can thus e.g. leave a significant part of his daily prototype-allotment uncreated and make them as the adventuring-day requires them.
Additionally, a machinesmith creates a greatwork at first level, which improves over time. The machinesmith can choose from 3 different greatworks that automatically improve over the levels, with the first being the Analyzer: Most of its abilities work on a at-will-basis, while other use up charges. An analyzer has 3+Int mod-charges that automatically recharge every day and over the progression of the class, add progressively more sensorial enhancements to a machinesmith's arsenal. Starting with humble detect-spells, the analyzer get more and more divination-style-abilities. It should be noted that the analyzer has received a major overhaul - it now mostly uses charges (a godsend to DMs who don't want XYZ numbers of divinations to constantly track) and has gotten some neat new tricks, but more on them later

The second choice is the Mechanus, which could be considered an equivalent of the a summoner's eidolon. 4 base-forms are available (humanoid, aquatic, serpentine, quadruped/tracked/wheeled) and the Mechanus gets 15 HD over 20 levels, +15 BAB, +5 saves, up to +11 AC-bonus and a str/dex-bonus of +8 during the course of their progression. A mechanus also get 3 major upgrades which include a breath weapon-style cone at 15th level, which makes the mechanus devastating against minor foes. It should also be noted that the mechanus can be made larger and later changed. The mechanus now caps in size at huge. It should be noted that the destruction of the mechanus requires it to be recrafted and costs money. And that machinesmiths get the ability to use an improved version of mending via his/her repair-ability, usable 3+int-modifiers per day, thus potentially making the team Machinsesmith/Mechanus a deadly force.

The final choice the Machinesmith gets is adding a mobius core to a weapon, thus creating a weapon of terrible destructive capabilities. On a basic level, the weapon comes with Int+0.5 x class-level charges and could e.g. utilize these charges to grant temporary access to a selection either melee or ranged feats while wielding the weapon. With the respective upgrades, the Machinesmith can add more feats to the respective feats available and choose multiple feats at the same time, as well as using charges to get luck bonuses and even expending charges to confirm critical hits automatically at higher levels.
Machinesmiths, in case I've forgotten to mention that, are good at dispelling magic via their Axiom ability.
That's not all, though: The Machinesmith gets more craft-feats and at 7th level, can transform prototypes into dispel magic-like effect. Also, the machinesmith gets access to a selection of gadget-tricks, some of which are augmentations for their greatworks and can only be taken by those having the respective greatwork.
A total of 24 different gadgets are included in the deal and feature e.g. turrets than can be fitted out with different kinds of crossbows. The turrets can be further upgraded to have multiple ones and increase the magazine-capabilities of the individual turrets. Also included in the selection is the option to fire explosive ammo via mobius weapons, creating an invisibility cloak a magnetic grappler that can use telekinesis on metallic objects, the option to boost your mechanus into overdrive an even alchemist-fire-powered portable ornithopters! Especially the latter is an awesome gadget in its iconicity. I am happy to report that the analyzers have received a bit more love via these gadgets and may now steal spells they successfully dispelled. While I still prefer the Mechanus and the Mobius Weapon, now I can see someone taking the analyzer.

After that, we are introduced 14 new spells for the machinesmith, which includes tiny bladed drones the machinesmith can redirect to attack other foes. The tiny drones can be destroyed btw. Other examples include alchemist's fire clusterbombs, irritating guardian drones, force shackles and a music box that spits out tiny constructs each round. Thankfully, the utterly broken "Hand of the Marksman" has been replaced with better, new spells and the drones now have all the information necessary to run them, which makes these spells awesome! This section has seen massive revision and now ROCKS!

LPJr Design is not pulling any punches here: The last bits of crunch depict now 4 archetypes instead of the original 2, the Bombardier and the Technologist. The bombardier gets bombs like the alchemist instead of a greatwork and now comes with all necessary information. The Technologist capitalizes on the science vs. magic-trope and can, by explaining his disbelief, grant his spellcraft as a save to his allies much like the bardic countersong, but less limited. The technologist may also grant himself spell resistance by expanding his repair uses. The formerly broken automatic resistance of his creations has been nerfed by making the components illegible to being enchanted or the creation of magic items. but what are the new ones? The Arcanamechanist is an archetype exclusively for machinesmiths with the analyzer and represents a machinesmith searching for lost, arcane technology. To reflect this, he can use Mobius energy to enhance e.g. wands and staffs, apply metamagic effects to spells cast from wands by expending additional charges and later even to scrolls. I liked the archetype, no balance-concerns on my behalf. The second new archetype is the combat engineer - proficient with medium armors and weapon training, this archetype represents the frontline tinkerer and thus gets e.g. better initiative, and the option to quickly activate gadgets and greatworks, but also diminished prototypes and no axiom-ability.

Even better, we now also get a new 10-level PrC, the Transmechanical Ascendant, who gets full BAB, medium fort-saves, 9 levels of prototype progression) and who seeks to become a machine by implanting a mobius core into his body and slowly turn less human and more like the machines he seeks to emulate. The PrC is a nice metamorphosis-class and comes with 2 new machinesmith tricks and unfortunately also the only remaining, but rather major blunders I could find in the revised version of the Machinesmith: The PrC lacks information regarding its Hit Dice and its skills-per-level, which constitutes a major blunder.

The pdf closes with a description on how machinesmiths work in the world of NeoExodus.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting have been thoroughly revised - Jeffrey Erwin has done a great job and made the whole pdf clearer, more appealing and much more professional. Layout is beautiful, adheres to NE's full-color 2-column standard and the original pieces of full color artwork by Carlos Herrera Portilla are beautiful. The pdf now comes with extensive bookmarks, which is awesome. Clockworker/tinkerer-classes are notoriously difficult to do and the machinesmith, a kind of spiritual successor of HHG's Clockworker tries very hard to do it. Now, in the revised edition, I'm extremely happy to report that the pdf actually succeeds in bringing us all a tinkerer-class with rock-solid rules, iconic options galore and cool ideas. ALL of my major complaints have been addressed, the formatting glitches (italics etc.) have been purged, wording has been clarified AND new content has been added. Quite a lot of it, actually! And quality content to boot! In fact, now this pdf actually can be considered a must-buy among the classes out there and I'd immediately go 5 stars plus seal of approval - were it not for the lack of HD and skill-info in the new PrC, which cost this pdf a star for a final verdict of 4.5 stars. I hope to see more of Jeffrey's excellent work in the future and am quite impressed that the team of LPJr Design has managed to pull this class off in the revised edition!

Endzeitgeist out.


Welcome to the Machine...

****( )

Classes of NeoExedus: The Machinesmith

Contents:
18 pages, 1 page cover, 12 pages of content, 1 page OGL, 4 pages of advertising.

Grading:
I'm grading this on a number of factors that I look for in gaming products. I've attributed each of them with a score below, and graded mechanics twice as heavy because this is a character class, and thus to me at least the mechanics are incredibly important.

Artwork: 5.0
Mechanics: 4.0
Typography: 3.5
Fluff: 3.0

Final Grade: 3.9 (Rounded up to 4.0), mostly excellent work.

Artwork:
As per usual LPJ’s artwork used in the supplement is simply fantastic. The style is heavily anime-based, but great art is great art. It fits the theme of the product nicely. In addition, doing a product layout is an art form in and of itself, and LPJ's layouts are among some of the best in the 3pp market (for visual enjoyment).

Mechanics: In all, the mechanics of the class work. The class is based around mobius energy, which is sort of a magi-tech amalgamation. While not for everyone, the design and abilities are very interesting and fun. I was not entirely sold on the choices of class skills for a mechanical/craft-based class, and I think that some of the abilities they have could be remarkably powerful as they progress, notably the Mechanus (which is essentially a construct cohort). They also gain clever bonuses to crafting (not just a +X number), which benefits the theme of the class nicely. In addition, they use magical blueprints to store their spell lists -- also well themed. They also gain a weapon enhancement (of sorts) that is based around their mobius energy and a number of gadget tricks which are mechanically akin to rogue talents but are themed around technology. Lastly, and my favorite ability, is the Machinesmith's Axiom ability. This allows the Machinesmith to sacrifice a memorized spell to perform a dispel magic. That is a very clever ability, and I applaud it.

Typography:
This wasn't terribly impressive. There were several grammatical mistakes and I was greatly surprised by the lack of justified colums, it would have made things look a lot more professional. That's personal preference, and doesn't detract terribly from the product, so I left it at an average rating.

Fluff:
This was one of my few critiques of this product. I definitely felt there was more room to immerse the reader in the class. A little more fluff would have gone a long way. I want to point out though that this was a very inexpensive pdf, and this doesn't really detract from the actual value of the book.

Ultimately, if the concept interests you at all, I would pick it up. I think there might be some elements that are slightly more powerful than a typical class (notably the construct cohort), but in all this was a clever class, with good design choices and the product is a great value for the price. It might not fit neatly in a purist Pathfinder game, but in a homebrew game, anime-based or futuristic setting it will be a great addition.

-Necro

*Disclaimer: I am a publisher/author/designer for TPK Games. My opinion could be biased by that fact. You can have my insight or take my words as meaningless drivel, however you choose. Any 3PP who is interested in having my review is certainly welcome to contact me.


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